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Hitters like Cooper George from Mount Olive are starting to figure things out.

Coach says ZooKeepers are close to turning a corner

ASHEBORO — It hasn’t been the start Asheboro Zookeeper manager Korey Dunbar was hoping for, but he knows the team is really close to turning things around and enjoying the success everyone expected when the Coastal Plain League started the new season.


The Zookeepers were off to an 0-6 start as action began this week on Tuesday with a scheduled game with Martinsville.


“We're in ballgames,” Dunbar said of the Zookeepers, who have lost one one-run game, three two-run games and two three-run games. “I don’t think we’re playing our best baseball right now. We’re taking it one day at a time and making sure they don’t get discouraged,”


The Zookeepers have postponed some early games because renovations at McCrary Park were not complete and instead have packed up their equipment and played home games at UNCG. McCrary Park is expected to open its gates on June 22.


“The staff is doing an incredible job of trying to figure it all out and making it the best possible experience for fans, the community and the players,” said Dunbar, a former catcher at UNC. “I think once we get back to McCrary, things will get back on track.”


As with most CPL teams, players are showing up almost daily. That means Dunbar and pitching coach Josh Pike have little time to figure things out.


“The players have to figure things out, too,” Dunbar said. “They are young and still have a lot of development from a baseball skills standpoint. They are still learning how to play at a high level and they will do that. You see glimpses of that and they will figure it out.”


Longwood’s Tanner Thomas is hitting .400, Clemson’s Hogan Garner is hitting .333 with a home run and six RBIs, Cooper George (Mount Olive) is hitting .333 and Todd Hudson (Liberty) is at .300. Catawba’s Dylan Driver is hitting .313. 


“The bats are starting to figure it out,” Dunbar said. “We scored nine runs against High Point the other night.”


The Zookeepers received a solid effort from Daniel Thompson on the mound, who hurled four shutout innings against Forest City Friday night. Jacob Dienes, from N.C. State, fanned nine in his five innings of work that game.


It’s could just be a matter of time before things come together.